Minister warns employers over contract arbitration clauses
The Minister of Economy and Labour has warned employers to cease the practice of giving their staff members recourse only through arbitration.
Jason Hayward revealed that his ministry had received complaints from employees about arbitration clauses being included in their statements of employment and employers insisting on settling matters, including potential breaches of the Employment Act 2000 by the employer, through an arbitration process that some cannot afford.
The minister is now considering legislative changes designed to protect vulnerable workers from the inclusion of arbitration clauses in their contracts.
Mr Hayward said: “All employees have the right to file a complaint with an inspector within the [ministry’s] Labour Relations Section regarding any alleged breach of Bermuda’s Employment and Labour Code.
“If an alleged breach is not resolved it may be referred to the Employment and Labour Relations Tribunal for determination.
“Due to the lack of knowledge of the legislation governing employment law and arbitrations in Bermuda, and the lack of money to fund the arbitration process, many employees feel that they have no access to justice and the redress they critically need.
“Employers who have included arbitration clauses in their statements of employment and have advised their employees that they have no recourse other than through arbitration should cease this practice immediately.”
Workers with questions about arbitration clauses can contact the Labour Relations Section at 23 Parliament Street, Hamilton, in the old Magistrates Court building.
The Labour Relations Section is open from Monday to Friday between 8.45am and 5pm and can be reached via phone on 297-7716 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Employment violations can be reported here.